In case you guys don’t know, our annual Extravaganza is coming up and it’s gonna be a blast as always. Extravaganza is pretty much the talent show + cultural activities + brownbag for international students. I’m doing 2 performances before I graduate so that’s part of why I’ve been busy.
Anyway so I did interviewed with Microsoft and got no offer T_T I was sorta expecting it since it was really hard. I also did interviewed with Google and the experience was slightly better but the questions were tougher. So how did I get it?
I first applied to Google for internship 2 years ago but it was IT position and it was not a match for me. I did 2 phone interviews with them and didn’t get it afterwards. The good thing about Google is they actually READ your resume if you submitted online through their career site. They do respond pretty quickly too.
After that I went to SHPE Conference fall semester and in order to participate you have to submit your resume. Now after I did that I was scouted by a recruiter from Google and she gave me a gift card to come to the conference. I got a REALLY NICE portfolio with that gift card (all fancy leather and stuff) so I was pretty happy. The process is pretty much the same like Microsoft, a bit less interviews though.
1. Phone Screen 1: Now pretty much every company does phone screen to weed out a lot of candidates. Big companies do a lot of phone screens, smaller companies do less, easy as that. The 1st phone screen starts with really basic stuff which I did have to review. They asked basic data structures and algorithms and optimization, you know the usual. They also asked me about my projects and everything.
2. Phone Screen 2: Similar to phone screen 1 with more challenging questions. They always try to push you beyond limit to test your creativity and analysis skills and all that. Since those are all technical, if you felt like you did well, there’s a high chance you’ll move forward. Otherwise you’re cut.
3. On-site Interview 1: Now Google is in Mountain View, CA. California is my dream place to be since the weather is totally awesome. Needless to say it was blizzard in Easton but CA was just sunny all the time. But here’s how the adventure went:
I got booked for a round-trip ticket and but there was no economy left so I was flown FIRST CLASS. I was really really excited since it’s the 1st and probably the only time I would get 1st class. The chair was huge, food was awesome, personal flight attendant and all that.
When I arrived at SFO, I was picked up by a LIMO. Hell yeah it was awesome. The driver was actually a CS major also and he’s working part-time. He’s investing on his HD camera project, hoping to make big bucks and everything. I respect him for taking the risk.
I didn’t remember the hotel I was staying in but my room was as big and my campus dorm room + the lounge. Once I checked in, Google gave me a credit card to spend (of course there’s a limit), a huge travel bag and another portfolio (so I have 2 portfolios from Google already). The best part was that there’s a Vietnamese restaurant right across the street and that was where I landed my first meal. Awesome!!
It was Google College Day where they gather all the college students and interview them. It was really intimidating since I was the only one from a school that nobody else knew. Everyone else was from Stanford, Harvard, CMU, M.I.T… Scary!!! The bus that picked us up was sorta like a limo bus where there’re huge seats and tables and everything.
Google campus might not be as big as Microsoft, but definitely fun. They have a dinosaur right in the middle and their cafes are free with pretty decent food.
My 1st interview with them was OO stuff. The interviewer grind me on OO concepts with some trick questions and stuff. Then he asked me to solve a simple problem which I misunderstood a bit and screwed up. That was not fun.
4. On-site Interview 2: The 2nd guy walked in, 15 mins after the 1st guy finished. He was kinda unprepared since he told me he didn’t think of the questions beforehand. After a while he asked me an open-ended question about designing a server and how to account for failure and backups and everything. It was open-ended so I had no idea how I did.
5. Final on-site interview: The 3rd guy was actually pretty nice. He is in charge of Chrome and he started asking me about how to check if the URL is a bad one from Google’s list cause Chrome has that feature. Then he started asking about how to optimize for latency, different algorithms and such. Then he was trying to explain to me an algorithm called Bloom Filter which I have never heard of and needless to say I was stuck.
After that stressful period they gave us a tour around Google campus and gave us free massage. Then I left to explore San Francisco and see my friend Martin in Stanford. Stanford is huge and awesome, definitely 1 of the best places to study.
Anyway I didn’t get an offer but I was contacted by Google recruiters 4 times ever since to ask me to interview. Everytime they called I had to tell them I was rejected and I know Google’s policy does not allow a candidate to reapply after rejection until 6 months after. I don’t to waste both their time and mine so I just came upfront.
So that was my Google experience, definitely once in a lifetime and totally valuable. Aight guys have fun and keep on rolling!!